Background Briefing: July 26, 2018


Facebook Takes a Hit but Is Still Strangling the Free Press to Death

We begin with Facebook shares plunging 18% on Thursday wiping over $118 billion off Facebook’s market capitalization and crimping Mark Zuckerberg’s personal fortune by $16 billion, we speak with Barry Lynn, the Executive Director of the Open Markets Institute about his article at The Guardian “Google and Facebook are strangling the free press to death. Democracy is the Loser”.  We discuss Google and Facebook’s relationship to this week’s firing of half of the staff of The New York Daily News and the dangers posed by these monopolies who are the gatekeepers of the news for 93% of Americans.


An Emoluments Case Against Trump Moves Forward

Then with the Federal District Court in Maryland’s ruling that the emoluments case against Donald Trump by the Attorneys General of the District of Columbia and Maryland can move forward, we will speak with the author of the Amicus brief which is credited with providing the definition of emoluments applying to the president as any profit, gain or advantage and that the historical purpose of the emoluments clause is to function as a broad anti-corruption provision. John Mikail, a Professor of Law and Associate Dean at Georgetown University’s School of Law joins us to discuss the efforts by Trump’s lawyers and the DOJ to dismiss the case which hinges on the legal interpretation of the emoluments clauses and whether they apply to the president. Now that the Attorneys General for the District of Columbia and Maryland have been given a ruling by Federal District Judge Peter Messitte that their lawsuit against the president can move forward, we look into Trump’s apparent violation of the Constitution as he continues to do business with foreign and domestic governments and the historical nature of a federal judge for the first time ruling on what the word in the Constitution “emolument” means.


Betsy DeVos Sides with the Predators Against America’s Students

Then finally we get an analysis of the consequences for students with an insurmountable debt burden and worthless diplomas from fraudulent for-profit colleges in the proposal put forward by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to require that defrauded student borrowers seeking loan forgiveness prove that these colleges deceived them. Aaron Ament, President of the National Student Legal Defense Network who served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of the General Counsel joins us to discuss how DeVos has surrounded herself with top advisors who are former executives from for-profit colleges who have had to pay settlements for defrauding students while saddling them with a lifetime of debt.